Our Book of the Month choice for July

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

Andy Kernot selecting a book from the SSL book shelves.


July’s book of the month was selected by Andy Kernot, Subject Consultant for Geography, Social Policy & Intervention, Public Policy, and Internet Studies.


The cover of the book 'Why are health disparities everyone's problem?' a rosette is next to the book which says 'SSL Book of the Month' on it.


Why are health disparities everyone’s problem?

Lisa A. Cooper

Hopkins University Press, 2021

Available at RA418.COO 2021 but currently on display at our New Books Display Area.



It was chosen because it examines how we can all work together to eliminate the avoidable injustices that plague our health care system and society. Health is determined by far more than a person’s choices and behaviors such as social and political conditions, economic forces or physical environments. Many of these factors are derived from of unequal opportunities and unjust treatment for people of color and other vulnerable communities. But they aren’t the only ones who suffer because of these disparities―everyone is impacted by the factors that degrade health for the least advantaged among us.

Book Overview

In Why Are Health Disparities Everyone’s Problem? Dr. Lisa Cooper shows how we can work together to eliminate the injustices that plague our health care system and society. The book follows Cooper’s journey from her childhood in Liberia, West Africa, to her thirty-year career working first as a clinician and then as a health equity researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Drawing on her experiences, it explores how differences in communication and the quality of relationships affect health outcomes. Through her work as the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, it details the actions and policies needed to reduce and eliminate the conditions that are harming us all.

Cooper reveals with compelling detail how health disparities are crippling our health care system and society, driving up health care costs, leading to adverse health outcomes and ultimately an enormous burden of human suffering. Why Are Health Disparities Everyone’s Problem? demonstrates the ways in which everyone’s health is interconnected, both within communities and across the globe. Cooper calls for a new kind of herd immunity, when a sufficiently high proportion of people, across race and social class, become immune to harmful social conditions through “vaccination” with solidarity among groups and opportunities created by institutional and societal practices and policies. By acknowledging and acting upon that interconnectedness, she believes everyone can help to create a healthier world.


“Dr. Cooper’s personal and professional journey is both riveting and inspiring; the scenes from her childhood in Liberia alone offer a global history lesson that resonates in present-day America. The unique experiences she brings to this unprecedented moment of the intersection of community health and racial reckoning make Why Are Health Disparities Everyone’s Problem? not only an essential read but a central question for our time.”

Marc H. Morial, President/CEO, National Urban League / former Mayor of New Orleans

“In this commanding narrative, Dr. Lisa Cooper—groundbreaking researcher, MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius,’ founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity—outlines innovative health equity solutions that can move us toward a societal ‘herd immunity’ where we’re tackling not just clinical disease but the deep-seeded impacts of structural racism.”

Garth Graham, MD, MPH, Global Head of Public Health, Google Inc. / former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services

“A compelling and enlightening record of Dr. Cooper’s journey of awakening to the origins and widespread impacts of health disparities and to the need for health equity in local and global communities. She shares the richness of her experiences and the piercing insights that have fueled her celebrated quest to unmask the underlying causes of and to propose solutions for the pervasive and persistent disparities whose deleterious effects in disadvantaged communities have broad effects on all others.”

James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine / Chairman Emeritus, Partnership for a Healthier America, and author of Dr. Gavin’s Health Guide for African Americans: How to Keep Yourself and Your Children Well

How can I access it?

A hard copy can be found on our New Books Display Area (around the corner from our Issue Desk), which can be borrowed by Oxford University students and staff. It is usually shelved at RA418.COO 2021. This title is also available as an eBook via SOLO. Oxford University staff and students can access the title remotely using their SSO.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

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